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Ellen G. White and the Shut Door Question

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    Labor for Sinners 1845-1851

    We now introduce several exhibits corroborating the fact that James and Ellen White were, as there were opportunities, working for sinners through the years between 1845 and 1851.EGWSDQ 32.2

    Reference was made on page 26 to Ellen Harmon’s experience in Paris, Maine, in the summer of 1845 as reported by Mrs. Truesdail.EGWSDQ 32.3

    Elder Loughborough, in an article in the The Review and Herald, September 25, 1866, quoted on page 22 after making reference to the vision given to Ellen White in Exeter, Maine, in mid-February, 1845, states:EGWSDQ 32.4

    Brother White went on to show that it was the visions that led them out of the extreme view of the shut door. Immediately after this vision they labored for some who made no profession before 1844, which was directly contrary to the practice of those who held the extreme view of the shut door. This vision was repeated again as he showed at Oswego, New York, just before it was published in Saratoga. [In Experience and Views.] But instead of leading them to cease to labor for the unconverted, it led them to labor for those who are now Brother and Sister Patch of Minnesota.EGWSDQ 32.5

    The Hiram Patch ExperienceEGWSDQ 32.6

    The Patch experience is an interesting one. Their names come in in connection with meetings held by Elder and Mrs. White in Oswego, New York, in the winter of 1849-1850. As this experience involved young people never connected with the Advent Movement it is of particular significance and we recount it in detail.EGWSDQ 32.7

    In the winter of 1849-1850, Elder and Mrs. White lived at Oswego. While there, Elder White published several numbers of The Present Truth. He also held meetings and presented our message, particularly the Sabbath truth. The Methodists were especially disturbed, and with a very earnest businessman leading out, they held revival meetings. This man, whom we know only as Mr. M., (See Spiritual Gifts 2:123) was the county treasurer. The people were very much impressed and some found it hard to decide as to who was right, this man who upheld Sunday, or Elder White, the young minister who had just moved to Oswego, and who lived in a rented house with borrowed furniture, and was teaching the Sabbath truth.EGWSDQ 33.1

    Mr. Hiram Patch and his fiancee were especially troubled. How could they know what was the truth in this matter? They were deeply impressed with the earnestness of the Methodist county treasurer and the meetings he held. They could also see clearly the Bible proofs for the Sabbath truth and the Third Angel’s Message.EGWSDQ 33.2

    About this time, Sister White was given a vision in which she was shown the true character of Mr. M., and that he was not honest. And she was instructed to tell Mr. Patch, “Wait a month, and you will know for yourself the character of the persons who are engaged in this revival, and who profess to have such a great burden for sinners.”EGWSDQ 33.3

    Mr. Patch said, “I will wait.”EGWSDQ 33.4

    About two weeks later, as Mr. M., the county treasurer, in one of the revival meetings was praying in agony for sinners, a blood vessel in his stomach broke, and he was carried home in great pain. As others took over his treasurer’s work at the county courthouse, they discovered a shortage in the county funds, of one thousand dollars. The sheriff and his deputy were sent to the treasurer’s home to ask about the missing money. The sheriff went to the front door and the deputy stayed out in the yard. The sheriff found Mr. M. in bed. He told the sheriff that he did not know anything about the missing money.EGWSDQ 33.5

    Just then the sheriff’s deputy came in the back door with Mrs. M. and he had in his hand a bag of money. He got there just in time to hear the treasurer call on God to witness that he had not taken the money. The deputy then held up the bag of money and asked, “What is this?”EGWSDQ 33.6

    As he stood outside while the sheriff went into the house, he had seen Mrs. M. go out the back door carrying a bag and this she quickly hid in a pile of snow. Then as she returned to the house, she met the man who had been watching her, and he took her back with him to get the bag. Just as he had suspected, it contained the missing money. The treasurer was put under arrest. The revival meetings collapsed. The people of the town were shocked.EGWSDQ 33.7

    Now Mr. Patch knew who had the truth, and he, with the young lady he soon married, accepted fully the Third Angel’s Message, joined the Sabbath-keeping Adventists and were very faithful members. When they saw the fulfillment of the predictions of Sister White, they knew that God was guiding this people and that they had the truth.—See The Great Second Advent Movement, 230-232.EGWSDQ 34.1

    The Wilcox ExperienceEGWSDQ 34.2

    At the first Sabbath Conference of 1848, Elder and Mrs. White labored for the conversion of John Y. Wilcox. Of this he wrote:EGWSDQ 34.3

    I was brought into the truth at the time meetings were held in the unfinished chamber of Brother A. Belden’s house, Rocky Hill, Connecticut. My receiving the light of present truth was under the labors of Brother and Sister White. I was baptized soon after by Brother White. But for the encouragement and strength I received from them I don’t know as I would ever have dared to think or feel that I was accepted of the Lord. They were deeply interested for me, and labored to help me.—The Great Second Advent Movement, p. 224.EGWSDQ 34.4

    The Ira Abbey TestimonyEGWSDQ 34.5

    After the time passed I was a strong shut door believer. But when the Third Angel’s Message was preached, I with my wife embraced it. Between 1846 and 1850 Brother and Sister White came to our house, and were very zealous for the children and those that had not rejected the truth. They labored for unconverted souls, and never do I remember of hearing Sister White say that there were no hopes of the unconverted; but there were hopes of the backsliders and those that had not rejected the truth.—Quoted by G. I. Butler in The Review and Herald, April 7, 1885.EGWSDQ 34.6

    E. G. White Letter to Brother and Sister Hastings (January 11, 1850)EGWSDQ 34.7

    O my brother and sister, I wish all of God’s people could get a sight of it as God has shown it me. The work of the Lord is going on. SOULS are coming in to the truth and soon the work will be all done. Keep up good courage, hope in God, let nothing weigh thee down. We have the truth. We know it. Praise the Lord. I saw yesterday our work was not to the shepherds who have rejected the former messages, but to the honest deceived who are led astray. I saw the false shepherds would soon be fed with judgment. Let the truth come out everywhere we go, the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord our God. Cheer up. There are better days coming.—Letter 18, 1850 (January 11, 1850) (Emphasis supplied).EGWSDQ 34.8

    E. G. White Letter to Brother and Sister Collins (February 10, 1850.)EGWSDQ 35.1

    We were very glad to hear from you that you were striving to be overcomers by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony. Be bold in the cause of God. Do not falter....EGWSDQ 35.2

    The way is now fully open for James to go forward in publishing the Present Truth....EGWSDQ 35.3

    Let us not rest unless we have the abiding witness that our ways please God. Souls are coming out upon the truth all around here. They are those who have not heard the Advent doctrine and some of them are those who went forth to meet the Bridegroom in 1844, but since that time have been deceived by false shepherds until they did not know where they were or what they believed.—Letter 4, 1850 (February 10, 1850) (Emphasis supplied)EGWSDQ 35.4

    Experience of Heman Churchill (July, 1850)EGWSDQ 35.5

    The Advent Review volume 1, number 1, published in August, 1850, at Auburn, New York, carries a report from James White of “Our Tour East.” Meetings were held at Johnson, Vermont, on July 6 and 7 with “quite a number of scattered brethren and sisters present.”—Advent Review, August, 1850, p. 15.EGWSDQ 35.6

    “We left the brethren in that vicinity,” reports White, “strong in the ‘commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’” One brother, who had not been in the Advent, and had made no public profession of religion until 1845, came out clear and strong in the whole truth. He had never opposed the Advent, and it is evident that the Lord had been leading him, though his experience had not been just like ours. Such, who come into the truth at the eleventh hour, may expect great trials.—Ibid.EGWSDQ 35.7

    George I. Butler remembered the meeting and identified the man as Heman Churchill of Stowe, Vermont. Butler writes:EGWSDQ 35.8

    His was one of the very first cases of conversion from the world to the present truth, which occurred after 1844.... I remember him well as he came to Waterbury, Vermont, and attended meeting in my father’s house where a few met from time to time.EGWSDQ 35.9

    They were quite surprised at first that one who had been an unbeliever should manifest an interest in the Advent doctrine. He was not repulsed but welcomed. He was earnest and zealous, and as they discerned in him sincerity, they accepted him as a true convert.—The Review and Herald, April 7, 1885.EGWSDQ 36.1

    J. H. Waggoner recalls the experience much like his own:EGWSDQ 36.2

    I have before me the report of a meeting held in Vermont, signed Joseph Bates, dated Fairhaven, November 4, 1850. In the last paragraph the report says:—EGWSDQ 36.3

    The two Brother Martins and their companions, with two others in Bennington, professed their clear convictions of the Seventh-day Sabbath and shut door.EGWSDQ 36.4

    This, then, was noted as an article of their faith as late as 1850. But now notice further. In this same report he says: “Brother and Sister Butler came from Waterbury with Brethren Chamberlain and Churchill.” And yet Brother Churchill was not in the first message; his first advent experience was in the faith of the Third Angel’s Message, the Sabbath, and the shut door! It is also true that Brother Churchill was held off for a time by some who were in doubt about his case, but Sister White had a message of hope for him, which silenced the objections of all who had confidence in the visions, and of course they rejected him, but they were not the Seventh-day Adventists. Of course many embraced the Sabbath who were believers in that view, but the visions were the means of bringing them out to the faith of an open door as well as the shut door.—Review and Herald Supplement, August 14, 1883.EGWSDQ 36.5

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